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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  May 12, 2013 8:30am-9:31am PDT

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>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," what happened in benghazi. who changed the government story and why is there when the number two diplomat in libya grek hicks took center stage on capitol hill, he confirmed what we reported last sunday, despite what the government was saying, the people in the ground on benghazi believed they were under terrorist attack, and he told congress what ambassador chris stevens reported before he was killed. >> he said, "greg, we're under attack." >> schieffer: we'll try for more answers when we bring in former ambassador thomas pickering, who headed an investigation into the attack. we'll hear from two key senators, richard durbin, and republican kelly ayotte. we'll get perspective and a rare interview with former secretary
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of defense robert gates. and we'll talk with cbs news investigative reporter sharyl attkisson. plus, we'll have a special mother's day interview with author and poet maya angelou. this is "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> schieffer: and good morning, again. ambassador thomas pickering is the one who led the state department'statedepartment's ino how those benghazi attacks were handled. mr. ambassador, you and i have known one another, and you had various posts in the government for membership, many years. you head the this investigation. but the three state department employees who testified this week were frustrated with the report. they had it was incomplete. one of them, greg hicks, even
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told investigators-- his words, not mine-- it let people off the hook." is that a fair criticism? >> i don't believe so, and i think that's an unfair criticism. they've tried to point the finger at people more senior than where we found the decisions were made. the decisions were made and reviewed at the level that we fixed responsibility for failures of performance. those people were named in the report. two of the four that we felt failed in their performance were, under our recommendation, relieved of their jobs. the state department is now considering what further steps to take. i believe that that's correct. we interviewed under secretary kennedy. people have pointed to him. we believe, in fact, that while he made a significant decision to keep the post open, he was not a security specialist. he was not engaged in a daily review of the decision making that took place, that we felt, in some cases, was seriously
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flawed. and as a result, we don't believe it went higher. we interviewed secretary clinton. we interviewed secretary-- deputy secretary burns, and deputy secretary nydes. we briefed them on the report. it was near the end. we had plenty of opportunity, had we felt it was necessary, all five of us, to ask them questions. we didn't believe that was necessary. and i don't see any reason to do so now. >> schieffer: but let me understand what you're saying. >> sure. >> schieffer: you had secretary clinton, but you department ask her any questions and why not? >> because in fact we knew where the responsibility rested. she had already stated on a number of occasions she accepted, as a result of her job, the full responsibility. on the other hand, the legislation setting up our board made it very clear that they didn't want a situation in which a department or agency head accepted responsibility and then nobody looked to where the
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decisions were made, and how and in what way those decisions affected performance on security. and whether people were thus responsible for failurees of performance. that's what we were asked to do, and that's what we did. >> schieffer: do you think in retrospect it might have been a good idea to question her and some of these other ranking officials? >> i think that we knew and understood because we had questioned people who had attended meetings with her. what went on at those meetings and how they were handled. what was relevant. i don't believe that it was necessary to do that. i don't think that there was anything there that we didn't know. >> schieffer: did you, ambassador, take-- did you have a recording of this? was any of this transcribed and recorded? >> we did not do recordings. we did note and we made a record of all of our notes and they're part of the voluminous document that, in effect, was produced when we did these two months of
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work, over 100 interviews, thousands of pages of material, classified and unclassified, hours of videotape. >> schieffer: why would you not roar it? >> because we didn't feel that it was necessary for to us get the essential elements of information down to make recordings. >> schieffer: now, you have said in other places that you did not look into how the talking points that officials were given to talk to the public about this, and why would that be? >> because we were asked to look in, under the law, at five questions all of which had to do with security, with the adequacy of security, with the preparation of security, with intelligence, and whether anyone breached their duties. that was, in effect, our mandate. at the time and still now, find it hard to see how the talking points issues relate to the security at the benghazi mission. >> schieffer: let me just-- i have a copy of the talking
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points and how they were changed. in the first version the talking points said, "we do know that islamic extremists with ties to al qaeda participated in the attack." this went through this various scrubbing until the end they took out the word "al qaeda." they took out "extremist." then they took out "islamic." and in the end it said, "there are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations. they didn't even call it an attack. if you were looking into the security, wouldn't it have been of interest to find out-- doesn't that deal with security what the people were talking about and what they were coming up with? i-- i just don't understand why you wouldn't have checked into that as part of this investigation? >> because the talking point came after the fact. they made no difference at what happened at benghazi. they related to how and in what
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way people were explaining to the congress and the american public. the question was cull culpability, which is hinted at in the recitation of the talking points, was specifically reserved under our criminal statutes for the f.b.i. they have that responsibility. they were concurrently reviewing that question-- who did this? why did they do it? who was responsible? were there criminal charges under u.s. law possible? we and they shared our records of the conversations we had with the people, particularly those who were in benghazi on the night of the events. and so there was broad transparency between us. but we had a different set of responsibilities, and we had a different set of questions we had to address. gli have an e-mail from the house oversight committee that one of their investigators had talked to you about testifying before the committee. he reported back that he-- that
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you told him you were deeply disinclined to testify at that congressional hearing because of the way-- and he meant the congress-- you said had turned this issue into a political circus. i asked him if he meant this committee in particular or congress in general, and he said congress in general. >> yes. >> schieffer: was that your feeling? >> that was, but that was after several conversations, one of which i was invited on a specific date, and i was out of the country. another asked me whether i would come down and talk informally with the committee, and i said yes, i was positive. the day before the committee hearings last week, i said through the white house-- and they transmitted it to the committee-- that i was fully prepared to come at any time and deal with the accountability review board and the issues or any issues that might arb rise surrounding that. i am still ready to do that.
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the answer that i received back was the committee majority was not inclined to include me. >> schieffer: all right. >> on the day of that testimony. they'd like to see me some other time. >> schieffer: do you feel that this investigation should be reopened? >> i don't see yet any reason why what we did at the accountability review board should be reopened. the questions that were asked about our work were in themselves answered at the time they were raised. the question of could military aircraft have made a difference? could they have gotten there in time? and the answer at that time through the defense attache to mr. hicks was no. subsequently, admiral mullen looked at that very carefully. general dempsey did. they have both testified there was no military capacity to get there. >> schieffer: all right, mr. ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. >> we're going to get more comment on this in just a minute.
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number two democrat. he's in springfield. senator kelly ayotte is in manchester, new hampshire. senator ion the ayotte,in you hn critical of some of these things. what's your reaction to what thomas pickering said this morning? >> well, bob, my reaction is the accountability review board report was not a substitute for adequate congressional oversight, and there were already questions raised-- i have respect for ambassador picking-- pickering-- but there were questions raised. eric nordstrom said there were key decision makers not interviewed by the a.r.b., a top counter-terrorism official asked to be review bide the a.r.b. was not. i was surprised to hear they did not probe secretary clinton in detail because obviously she was the decision maker at the state department. and in addition, the testimony we heard this week from
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mr. hicks certainly much of that was not within the a.r.b. report, even though he was interviewed by the a.r.b. so i believe there needs to be further congressional scrutiny of this. and i don't believe the talking points issue was in their charge as i hear him saying this morning and i think it's a very important issue to get to the bottom of what happened there. >> schieffer: senator durbin, what's your reaction? >> thomas pickering appeared on your show this morning. i wish he would have appeared at the hearing last week. he asked to be there. he should have been there. he's the most respected diplomat in washington. for over 25 years, presidents of both parties have given him the toughest diplomatic assignments, and you heard what he just said, bob, he, together with admiral mullen went through a lengthy review of the security aspect of this. they came up with a recommendation for changes accepted by secretary clinton and president obama. the bottom line is this-- this was a tragedy. we lost four americans who were risking their lives to represent our country. we want to find those responsible and hold them
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responsible and we want to make sure that the security in embassies in the and consulates is going to be the very best for the men and women who work for us. but, unfortunately, this has been caught nupt 2016 presidential campaign. this effort to go after hillary clinton. the reason she wasn't interviewed was she didn't have any direct line responsibility for the decisions that were made. but they want to bring her in because they think it's a good political show. and i think that's unfortunate. >> schieffer: well, senator ayotte, let's cut to the chase here. do you think there was a cover-up here? was somebody trying to protect hillary clinton here, or was somebody at the same time trying to protect incompetence for want of a better word, that the state department had not been prepared to take care of these people and the security was not what it should have been. what's your take here? >> well, i believe, bob-- let's get to the issue looking at what happened with the talking points. all you need to do is hold up the original version and then
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what was actually released to the public, and think about it. were those it's information that deleted was very important. so in terms of that, that information, the reches to al qaeda, the prior attacks on the consulate, yes, i believe that the real question is were they manipulated in terms of-- in the middle of an election to not tell really the full story, give the picture to the american people. and i think that's a serious question. with regard to secretary clinton, there are serious questions that remain. i mean, eric nordstrom mentioned this week, as certainly did mr. hicks, the fact that facility requirements for the consulate in benghazi, the wafer of those requirements, by law, apparently, have to come from the secretary of state. was she involved in that decision make, who was not-- or was she not? in addition to that, this have been serious questions raised about individuals within her chain of command with respect to the talking point and what happened afterwards. so i think those are fair questions when we have,
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obviously, four americans murdered in addition to the fact that these were-- to have an ambassador murdered. this is about getting to the bottom-- to the line of the truth not about what happens in 2016. >> schieffer: well, what about that, senator durbin? i mean, the fact is what we now know from e-mails and other information is that there were 12 revisions of what the government's version of what happened was that night. and the first version said that there were elements of al qaeda involved in this. they said it was an attack. the people on the ground said there was never any question in their minds that this was some sort of a spontaneous demonstration. and when the first version of those talking points came out, all of that was mentioned, and then at the end, you come up with this, "there are indications that extremists participates in violent demonstration." a totally different take on things. why-- why would they do that? >> bob, let's start at the beginning.
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what you're reading is e-mails provided by the obama administration, 25,000 pages of e-mail. there's on no attempt to cover it up. secondly, this was a squabble between two agencies, the c.i.a. and the state department, about the wording. the person representing the state department happened to be victoria nuland who has worked for democrats and republicans alike, at one time worked for vice president cheney. so she's certainly not a partisan in this exchange about how they're going to term this. now, when it gets down to the point that senator ayot made about secretary clinton, let me tell you, there are two things you should remember. first, these been breathless nonstop coverage of this issue by fox from start to finish. and second, when the "washington post" looked at the assertion as to whether hillary clinton should be held responsible and what came out at the hearing, they awarded it four pinocchios, which means the lowest level of credibility you can possibly have. it is unsubstantiated. and yet the witch-hunt continues. >> schieffer: finally, senator
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ayotte, what should happen next in your point of view? >> bob, what i believe should happen next is that there are serious questions that need to be answered before the facility requirement waiver. in addition, there's a different rendition as to why chris stevens was in benghazi today in the a.r.b. report. >> schieffer: all right. >> and what mr. hicks said. i think there are serious questions-- >> schieffer: all right, i'm very sorry, we have to break there. we'll be right back.
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are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind... mom and dad, i have great news. is now providing answers families need. siemens. answers. yesterday to former secretary of defense one gates at historic wilin virginia. we asked him to give us his perspective on the benghazi situation. >> first of all, i have to say i only know what i've read in the madia. i haven't had any brief, or anything. i think the one place where i might be able to say something
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useful has to do with some of the talk about the military response. and i listened to the testimony of both secretary panetta and general dempsey, and frankly had i been in the job at the time, i think my decisions would have been just as theirs were. we don't have a ready force stand buying in the middle east. despite all the turmoil that's going on with planes on strip alert, troops ready to deploy at a moment's notice. and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible. frankly, i have heard why didn't you just fly a fire jet over and try to scare them with the noise or something. well, given the number of surface-to-air missiles that have disappeared from qaddafi's arsenals, i would not have
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approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft over beg under i under those circumstances. and with respect to sending in special forces, or a small group of people to try to provide help, based on everything i've read, people really didn't know what was going on in bengazhi, contemporaneously. and to send some small number of special forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment swithout knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on, on the ground, i think would have been very dangerous and, personally, i would not have approved that because we just don't-- it's sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. the one thing that our forces are notedly for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way, and there just wasn't time to do that. >> schieffer: but i guess that would bring up the question why
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not? why was there not some force? i mean, there were americans there. they, obviously, were in danger. and there was nothing to protect them. >> well, i don't eye don't know the circumstances leading up to benghazi in terms of requests for additional security there at the consulate or any of that. i, frankly, just don't know. these things always look a lot simpler in retrospect, though. >> schieffer: let me just ask you, general mike hayden, former head of the c.i.a., said this week the conditionation o contie false narrative the administration perpetrateed in the weeks after the benghazi attack was not understandable and is not forgivable. do you agree with that? >> well, i think that's pretty strong. i mean, i've got a lot of respect for mike, and he's a good man, but i think-- i think without knowing all the facts, without knowing exactly what happened, it's difficult to make that kind of-- that kind of a
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harsh judgment. >> schieffer: have you talked to secretary clinton about this? >> no. >> schieffer: you have not. >> no. >> schieffer: i know you workdz very closely with her. and, i mean, you know what they're saying, the democrats say the republicans are on a witch-hunt here, they're playing politics. republicans are saying the democrats have been part of a cover-up, perhaps to protect her political future. have you come to any judgment about any of this? >> no, i think the only thing i'd say is that-- i mean, i worked with secretary clinton pretty closely for two and a half years, and i wouldn't want to try and be somebody to-- trying to convince her to say something she did not think was true. >> schieffer: you don't think she would do that. >> no. >> schieffer: let's talk a little bit about syria. you originally opposed going in to libya because you said you didn't think we had a vital interest there. the president intervened. he said that the u.s. couldn't stand by while thousands of people were slaughtered.
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how is syria different from libya? >> i believe that we have misjudged the arab spring, and the arab revolutions, and i will call it the arab revolutions, and looking at it from a historian's standpoint, we tend to forget that if you look back over the last 200, 250 years, the history of revolutions is not a pretty one. and in truth, when you think about the american, the french, the russian, the chinese revolutions, and many others, only one turned out reasonably well in the first decades, and that was our own. there are no institutions in any country in the middle east in any arab country that provide a basis or a foundation for enduring freedom or democracy. there is no rule of law.
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there are no civil institutions, and there is no history along these lines. and our preferred approach would have been an evolutionary change during which reforms could be enacted, institutions could be built, and you could have something long term. now, i think in all of these countries, including syria, you have the threat of civil war. the threat of these countries falling apart. syria, libya, both artificial creations of colonial powers. putting together historically adversarial groups, religions, and sects. and for to us think we can influence or determine the outcome of that i think is a mistake. i thought it was a mistake in libya. and i think it is a mistake in syria. we overestimate our ability to determine outcomes, even if we had intervened more significantly in syria a year ago or six months ago. i think that caution, particularly in terms of arming
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these groups and in terms of u.s. military involvement is in order. >> schieffer: well, what should we do? >> well, my question back to you is why should it be us? there are other powers in the region-- turkey and others-- that have military capabilitys. you have europeans that are much closer, and whose interests are much-- are equally affected. i understand our broad interests in the middle east. and i understand the risks to us of chaos in syria, and of a-- an ethnic cleansing there once the civil war comes to an end, no matter who wins it. but the question that you ask me is the question i think we don't have a satisfactory answer to-- what should we do? what can we do? i believe that if we're to do anything, it is to pick and choose the opposition groups that we think have some
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moderation and would espouse what we think is in the best interest of the region. #-r provide them with intelligence, with basic military equipment, work through turkey and other countries, perhaps, in providing some basic military equipment. but i think our direct involvement and particularly our direct military involvement would be a mistake. you know, i oversaw two wars that began with quick regime change and we all know what happened after that. and as i said to the congress when we went into libya-- when they were talking about a no-fly zone-- it begins with an act of war, and haven't we learned that when you go to war, the outcomes are unpredictable. and anybody who says it's going to be clean, it's going to be neat, you can establish the safe zones, and it will be-- it will just be swell. well, most wars aren't that way. >> schieffer: and we'll have more of that interview on page two.
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>> schieffer: and we'll be right back with more "face the nation." ,,,,
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to "face the nation." here is more now of interview with former secretary of defense bob gates. do you think on reflection it was a mistake to go to iraq? >> i think that what we know-- with what we know now, in terms of the fact that they did not have weapons of mass destruction, will always taint the fact that we went to war in iraq. i think-- i think historians will judge iraq in the context of whether it is seen as a huge strategic mistake or the overthrow of saddam hussein as the first crack in a region of authoritarian governments that
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began a long, if difficult path to democracy. and so i think it's too soon to make the judgment whether it was the right thing to do or not. i think you have to look back a long time from now, or some period from now, and see how this all turns out. if iraq falls apart and falls into civil war again, then, that's one thing. but if it it somehow struggles through and most of these politicians are arguing with each other, not shooting each other right now, then i think you could come to a different conclusion. >> schieffer: we are leaving afghanistan. how do you feel about that? >> well, i always supported karzai's proposal that western forces leave at the end of 2014. at the time, that was first proposed, that gave us five more years to try and subdue the taliban and build up the afghan
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forces. and i felt that that was enough time to do that. and i think that based on what i'm reading in the press, that we are actually making pretty good headway with the afghan forces. when people talk about, well, they have very limited number of units that can act on their own. that doesn't mean they won't fight and they're not ready to die. what it means is they lack logistic support. they lack air cover. they lack intelligence, and those are things we can easily help them with after 2014 with some modest residual force, which it sounds like everybody thinks is a good idea. i will tell you this, for us to leave lock, stock, and barrel at the end of 2014 and abandon afghanistan as we did after the soavesoviets left, would be a disaster. >> schieffer: well, do you think that's what's going to happen here? >> i think that-- i think we actually will end up with some kind of a residual force. and my hope is that the drawdown
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to the-- that residual force will be slower rather than faster. to give us the full time through 2014 to train and help the afghans improve their capabilities. >> schieffer: what do we do about north korea? >> that's-- that's as tough as iran in my view. >> schieffer: is it a greater threat at this point than iran? >> right now, i would say it is. because they have capability-- they have nuclear weapons now. they do-- are testing longer range missiles. i was quite surprised when i learned, as secretary, they were going straight to the develop of a road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. and frankly, i worry a lot about kim jungun. i think he did not have the experience or sophistication, if you will, of his father and
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grandfather in terms of knowing where the red lines are. i also worry that he does not -- and the north korean generals-- do not realize that there has been a dramatic change in public opinion in south korea, and after 30 years of swallowing provocations such as the sinking of their warship, the artillery attack oltz island that killed innocent civilians, the south koreans are not prepared to take that any more, which creates an environment in which the next provocation could result in an escalation, and the situation getting out of control. i worry that the north korean leader does not have an understanding of that. that's what i said in china on my last visit there, and they needed to understand the risks of that. i think the chinese are very uncomfortable with this whole situation. the last thing they want is another war on the peninsula. they also don't want this huge reinforcement of u.s. forces in the region.
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so i think that they are weighing in to try and calm this guy down. but their influence-- they do have influence, but they don't have control. and that worries me. >> schieffer: and iran, how do you see that situation right now? >> well, i've always said this is-- this is the toughest-- i went to work for the c.i.a. 46 years ago, 47 years ago this year, and this is the toughest problem i think i've seen because there are really no good outcomes. unless the sanctions finally begin to bite enough that they-- that the regime decides that it's-- its own survival is at risk from economic troubles. because the other alternatives, if there is no military attack, and they don't change their policies you will probably see a nuclear armed iran igniting a nuclear arms race in the most
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volatile part of the world, emboldened to be even more aggressive, and with missiles that can reach israel now and europe soon. if you do-- but if you do hit them, then i think the consequences of their retaliation could spin out of control. >> schieffer: what is the best argument we can make to them that they should not become a nuclear power? >> well, i think that the face-saving measure is to somehow figure out a way for them to have a peaceful nuclear program for electric power, or for medical research or whatever, that is adequately policed by international agencies to give all of us, including the israelis, confidence that they're not working on nuclear weaponnization, and that we would have enough lead time, should they change their minds to go back to that program, to
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act militarily. i think provide something kind of face for them in this is the only way to avoid the really nasty consequences. but the bottom line still has to be they can't have nuclear weapons, and there has to be an inspection regime that is adequate to give all of us confidence that they're not working on nuclear weapons. >> schieffer: you are one of those-- there use to be a lot of people like you around who were seen as those who served their country, rather than serve their party. i mean, you are a republican, but you worked for democrats, you have been back and forth. now that you've been away from government for a while, what do you think is the greatest threat at this point to america's security? >> i think that-- i think that the greatest threat to us right now is the inability of our political leaders to come
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together on bipartisan solutio solutions, long-term solutions to the very real problems we have. whether it's the deficit, whether it's government spending, whether it's entitlements, immigration, infrastructure, education, that broad middle band that used to be so strong in the congress of members of congress center-left, center-right, people i used to call "bridge builders" that's where the country has always been governed from. the country has moved forward based on great ideas from both the left and the right, but it's been the centrists that have translated those into law through compromise. that's the foundation of our political stability and of our political system. the american constitution is built on compromise and created a political system that demands compromise. and unless we can come together
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on policies to deal with these flabz can survive one congress and one presidency, then i think we're in real trouble. one of the reasons i think we were successful in the cold war was we followed a basic strategy toward the soviet union-- containment-- through nine successive presidents, both exprns democrats. big problems require a long long time to solve. it took us a long time to get into the fix we're in. it will take us a long time to get us out. and this striving for momentary political advantage or to score ideological point on either side of the spectrum i think is doing serious damage to the country. >> schieffer: mr. secretary, thank you so much. >> thank you, bob. >> schieffer: robert gates. joining me now, cbs news investigative correspondent sharyl attkisson who hasn't been just compg the benghazi story but has been out front most of the time as we've banning trying to get to the bottom of what really happened.
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sharyl, where does this go from here? what do you see is happening now? >> i am still learning new things, including this past week we are learning new things about the way of general petraeus held as head the c.i.a. when the talking points went through huge revisions. we saw e-mails that seemed to express deep disappointment on his part, if not aggravation that so much tomorrow were taken out. i wonder if he has more to say if someone was able to get him to talk. i wonder if a pattern is emerging, as we have seen all mentions of al qaeda, extremists, removed from the talking point. additionally there was no convening of the counter-terrorism security group by the white house that night, which is described to me as required by presidential directive. is there a pattern of someone wanting to avoid the terrorism narrative in exchange for basically the youtube spontaneous demonstration narrative. >> schieffer: john mccain i think called today for a select committee to investigate this.
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you heard ambassador pickering say this morning he thought his investigation pretty much did the job. but i'm not sure he's going to find a lot of agreement on capitol hill with that statement. >> well, by admiral pickering's own admission, by some agree the investigation was limited in scope. i was surprised to hear him say he decide there was no need to ask mrs. clinton any questions. i would think even if you think you know all the answers at that point, you would still want to get her version of what she knows and make sure everything matches up and see if you know anything new. i think those will be questions congress wants to ask. >> schieffer: someone who is sort of close to this said to me never take it for granted that it is always malice. sometimes it's just incompetence. so while i think-- i think there are many different factors going into how we got to where we are right now, but as far as i'm concerned, we still have not
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gotten where we ought to be, to have a really clear understanding of exactly what happened and why it happened. >> agreed. i think everyone agrees that in the security decisions, some of which may have been bad, nobody wanted anybody to get hurt. the question is what willfulness occurred once this happened in perhaps giving a different story. i'm not saying there was a cover-up, but there are questions and allegations of a cover-up. what happened in that regard. and moving forward, have these problems really been fixed, whereby if our embassies come under attack on foreign soil again, can we now number a position to move more quickly? will warnings that were issued by the c.i.a. be heeded or acted upon in a better way to protect americans than they were on september 11 last year. >> schieffer: all right, well, sharyl attkisson, one thing i want to say to you is keep on digging. but i know i don't have to say that abuse i know you always do. >> thanks, bob. >> schieffer: thanks for being with us. we're going to be back with a special mother' mother's day inw with poet and author maya
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with a very special guest on this mother's day, poet and author maya angelou, who has a new book out just in time for mother's day. it is called "mom & me & mom. it is an honor to have you, dr. angelo, and this is not just a book for mother's day. it is a great story. i started it last week, and simply could not put it down. and i would say, everybody in the office who read it came away with the same feeling. we just loved it. so it's really a pleasure to have you and to see you and you look like you're feeling fine this morning. >> i'm feeling great. and it's wonderful to talk to you. you're one of the wonders of the world to me. i never thought i'd have a chance to tuke, let alone have you talk to me. >> schieffer: well, the honor is mine. >> thank you.
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>> schieffer: i want to talk to you about this book because it is such an unlikely mother's day story, your mother sent you off to live with your grandmother when you were three, and you stayed with your grandmother until you were 13, and then you came back to live with your mother. yet, you came to love your mother and the two of you had this lifelong bond, and this wonderful relationship. how did it come about that she chose to send you away when you were three years old? >> she and my father fell in love, or maybe in lust with each other. they were both really beautiful human beings, and it was after world war i, and my father was pompous and pretentious and had learned some french in france, and my mother was very beautiful and he was very handsome, and they fell in something together. i think they'd like to think it was in love, but i don't know about that. but they were together for about five years, and found they
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didn't like each other at all. and so they decided-- neither of them wanted the toddlers. i was three in & my brother five. so my grandmother, my father's mother, said send the children to me. and so they put us on trains in los angeles without adult supervision with tags on our arms which said, "these children are to be delivered to mrs. annie henderson, in stamp, arkansas. >> schieffer: until you were 13. >> well, until i was seven. >> schieffer: seven. >> my father at seven came and paikd us up took us to st. louis where my mother had returned to her family, and that was really nice, we thought. and we were trying to become city kids. but after about three months, my mother's boyfriend raped me. >> schieffer: oh, my god. >> and i told the name of the rapist to my brother. he told it to the family.
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the man was put in jail for one day and one night. and after a few days, the police released-- came out and told my mother's mother that the man had been found dead and it seemed he had been kicked to death. that was said in my hearing. my seven-year-old logic told me my voice had killed a man so i stopped speak. for six years i stopped speaking. >> schieffer: you were how old when you were reunited with your mother and went to live with her? >> i was 13. >> schieffer: and those were not easy years. you went through a series of-- >> no, they weren't. >> schieffer: you had a child when you were 17. but you had this unbelievable record-- we talk about women in the workplace now-- you must have had every kind of job a man or a woman could have had, including being a streetcar conductor. >> i had gone to visit my father
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at my mother's encouragement, and he didn't like me, and i didn't like him. and so i came back home to my mother in san francisco, and she said, "well,un, you're a semester and a half ahead of yourself. if you don't want to go to school right now, you don't have to, but you have to get a job." so i decided i wanted to be a-- have a job on the street cars. i had watched women on the street cars. i hadn't noticed that they were all white. they were just women. and they wore cute little uniforms and bibs on their caps, and they had money chongz their belts. i thought they were swank. i said i wanted to be a street car conduct porp my mother said, "go get the job." i went down and the people wouldn't even give me an application. so i went back home really broken up, and i told my mother they wouldn't let me apply. she asked me why, "do you know why?" i said, yes, because i'm a
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negro. she asked me, "do you want the job?" i said, "yes." she said, "go get it. go get it." well, about the third day, mr. schieffer, i was finished with it. i wanted to go home so badly because the girls who worked there spat and they used racial pejoratives and they pooched out their mouths and made fun of me, but i couldn't go home and tell vivian baxter that i wasn't as tough as she thought i was, so i sat there. and after two weeks, a man came out of an office, and he said, "come in." and i went in to the office. he asked me, "why do you want to work for the metropolitan railway company," or whatever. and i said, "because i like people and the like the uniforms." he asked me, what experience had i had?" and i lied. i said i had been the chauffeur
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for mrs. annie henderson in arkansas. my grandmother had hardly ridden in a car, let alone had anybody drive her around. but i got the job. i got the job. and after i-- i stayed with the job until it was time to go back to school. and my mother asked me, "now what, did you learn? there that?" every day she would drive with me out to the barn to pick up the street car. and she had a pistol on the seat of her car. she would ride with-- just following my street car all the way down to the ferry then all the way back to the beach and all the way-- until daybreak, and she'd blow her horn and blow me a kiss. and she asked me what did i learn? so i said i learned that i had probably the best protection anybody could have in the world. she said, "no, but did you other
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than that with discipline, with decision, determination, and intelligence, you can do anything, anything." and, you know, i have done a lot of things. and vivian baxter, my mother, told me that with determination, preparation, intelligence, you can do anything. anything good. and so i'm still doing-- listen to me. i'm here talking to bob schieffer. i'm doing anything. >> schieffer: well, may i just say they i think i've fallen in love with you, and that hasn't happened to me on this broadcast very often. i want to wish you the happiest of mother's days, and i know what you have said today means a lot to mosm moms out there and o
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to daughters. i want to wish you the very best. this is a wonderful, wonderful time. thank you so much for being with me. >> thank you with my heart. i thank you with my heart. >> schieffer: and we'll be back in a minute. ron: years ago i made a promise to provide the best for my family,
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in sickness and in health. carol and i needed help figuring out what's covered by medicare and what's not. so we turned to the same folks we've relied on for health insurance all these years. announcer: ron and carol called anthem blue cross and found an affordable medicare supplement insurance plan that pays for many of the costs that original medicare won't. now they have the confidence to keep making memories for years to come. choose from options like plans with deductibles as low as $0 and $0 for coinsurance. plus get protection from high out of pocket costs. get the freedom to keep your own doctors that you know and trust. and even get stand alone prescription drug plans for brand name and generic prescription drugs at more than 54,000 pharmacies across the country. if you're eligible for medicare or will be soon we'll help you find a plan that fits your needs. call or go online now to get answers.
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another mother's day. anyone who knows me knows that my mother was the dominating and shaping force of my life. here are a few lines i wrote about her back in 2006 that i'd like to share with you this morning. what is there to say about moms that hasn't been said before? well, here are a couple of things, maybe three or four. when you were just a little one, who was it that taught you a song and even more important, the difference between right and wrong? when others turned against you, who was always there? who always took your side, no matter when or where? if you're like me, it was mom. who kept the family going whether times were good or not? who always could remember the things that we forgot-- birthdays, homework deadlines, 100 things or more. and on school days, wide weak or not, got us out the door.
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if you're like me, it was mom. who told you, you were just as good as any rich man's son and not to look for some excuse to not do what needed done? you've known some movers and shakers, some may even know you, but in the final accounting, who toast you most that's true? if you're like me, it was mom. so don't forget to tell your mom today that you love her. and we'll be back in just a minute. ,,,,,,,,
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>> well, i want to thank you for watching "face the nation." before we go, we want to take note of the retirement of longtime "face the nation" announcer john wilcox.
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says, "face the nation." who he's been the voice at the top of this broadcast for 40 years now. we're going to miss his smile, his humor, and his work here at cbs news. good luck, john. and to all of those mothers out there, happy mother's day. we'll see you right here next sunday on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org ,,,,,,,,
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